Gratitude for the Temple

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I met up with a friend of mine yesterday. She’s been my shaman for 8 years, although it had been over a year since I had last encountered her energy. As typical Cancers, we curled up in a blanket and started chatting. I was telling her about some of my experiences this past year and how they are centering around creative feminine energies. And after some discussion where she shared some of her own recent explorations on the subject, she said, “We just have to remember to also appreciate our bodies.”

And that rung a bell for me. Gratitude for my body.

I’ve spent the last 15 ish years analyzing my body, getting to know her, learning what she likes to eat (and in what quantities), learning how she likes to exercise, as well as learning to read the signs that indicate my energy levels. I had been shifting from the language of shit-talking my body, critiquing, and being mean to my body to a place of an intimate understanding of how she works. I wanted to learn how to nurture my body. But nurturing isn’t gratitude, and it is in that space that I would like to breathe for a while.

This body is the home to my consciousness, the temple through which I experience life. Our human suits are what allow us to be present on this earth in a corporeal capacity. They are what literally walk the paths with and for us. Our bodies are here for us and only us (well, in most cases 😉  ). Your heart beats for you, to carry blood cells throughout your body, nourishing your physical existence. Your brain functions for you, synapsing with thoughts, actions, and nurturing you being you. Your kidneys, spleen, lungs, legs, muscles, mitochondria, nerves, bones, lymph nodes, all of you…exists for you.

I was swept away with the idea of nurturing and decorating my temple, I think I may have forgotten to appreciate the temple. I am drawing into myself gratitude for the container for my consciousness. I appreciate that my physical being exists to be engaged with me and allows me to be me, here, on Earth, right now. And she does it all without me even asking. She is autonomous and yet completely dedicated to me.

In a Shamanic Space now, my friend tells me to start a meditation…to dive into my organs and listen. So I am drawing my awareness and consciousness to the depth of my insides. To breathe in that space of union where the mind meets my body.

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Agonizing darkness

agony


agonyAgony, that which can hunt us, and is waiting for the opportunity to take us down. In all of life’s uncertainty, we know that we will experience pain to varying degrees. Whether it manifests as fear, anxiety, depression, or anger, the human experience involves acrimony. 

There may be times in life when you experience a rip in your reality so profound that you are crippled. Those times when life seemingly unfairly takes, breaks, and/or burdens and the consequential gut-wrenching pain throws your weakened being to the ground. All you see is the destruction of what was burn around you. Your breath is shattered as sobs echo in the newly-made holes in your heart. And you can just hold yourself, with thoughts of disappearing into the shadows that darken your life.

Fear not the darkness.

See those skulls scattered around you? They are remnants of the battles of your past and the challenges you have already conquered.  Past jobs, coworkers, relationships, friendships, deaths, arguments, anger, whatever has challenged, and perhaps devastated you lie in the burning refuse. As Kali bore the skulls, so do you. They support you now for they have revealed you. They tell a story of your strength and perseverance. It doesn’t matter how ungraceful, frantic, terrifying, or horrible it was, you have sustained and are continuing on your path. You are learning and adjusting based on the experiences you have endured. You are getting stronger. You are shedding the old and emerging in a fresh skin.

And as your new skin brightens into brilliance, your energetic spine rises strong and fierce for you. Kundalini, your creative energy, is ready to rise amidst the destruction. It is vital and potent, ready to strike. Part of the cosmic consciousness, it invites you to activate your truest self and ascend. 

So while you writhe in agony, and you, in complete exhaustion finally surrender to the pain of existence…remember the strength you have within. The journey of life has led you to this moment and your dharmic self is waiting to pull you from the fires that burn. 

You have already survived so many battles. You have already fought so hard, don’t give up now. You are ready to stand up in your essence and rediscover who you are.

 

 

 

Feel the fear

I humbly surrender to the universe

Those days happen. When your barriers are down, vulnerabilities are laid bare, and the submerged emotions pour out of your depths weakening cracks and bursting fault lines. The heaviness of the heart seems impossible fear encroaches upon hope. Crawling into a closet and holding yourself seems like the only possible thing to do.

Law of Attraction.

We hear so often in society that positive thinking, intention setting, awareness of the quality of your energy, and the such create your environment. So I try. I try to think positively, to remain hopeful, encouraged, grateful, positive, and all of that juicy goodness. And I’m a believer, don’t get me wrong. That shift in perspective and energy has made a noticeable and has impacted my life for the better.

But some days I need to cry.

Just because I am trying to be positive doesn’t mean that I always feel that way. So often I concentrate harder on being hopeful and positive because I am battling the fear that is rising up. For me, part of the human experience is the gamut of emotions we are capable of feeling. As a result, some days I need to feel the fear. Not because I want to…but because it is inside me and denying its existence is not only futile but perhaps unhealthy. If left ignored, it has the potential to grow without you knowing it and if rendered vulnerable, could consume your very being.

Give yourself permission.

TodayI felt weird and awkward and stepped on the yoga mat with the intention of escaping those feelings. At one point, I was forced to look at the cause of the unease: fear. I’m scared. I’m taking risks I’ve never taken before, I’m struggling in ways new to me, my confidence is so easily dashed, and despite my attempts at remaining open, I am failing my expectations. And so I gave myself permission to cry. I was in my sanctuary, and so I let my guard down completely and fell down the winding hole of failure. What it feels like and what it looks like in this particular moment. It’s so fucking terrifying.

I wish I could say I got off the mat feeling refreshed and back into the positive pleasantries. But an hour wasn’t enough to feel the depths of fear dwelling within me. To see the multi-layered dimensions of that emotion. To understand it and embrace it as an aspect of myself. An hour is not enough, so I am giving myself permission, for one day, to wallow in anguish. To acknowledge it’s presence, and to recognize its incarnations in my life. I am granting myself the time to experience the possibilities of failure. I am dedicating energy to emptying myself of the damaging destruction of despair and purging myself of those debilitating diatribes.

Dance in the darkness of your shadow.

Each of us carries the opposites within us. Losing contact with the shadow self creates an internal rift. Give yourself permission when you need to experience the despair you may be battling. Don’t deny it, dance with it, and then change partners.

The antidote to despair is not to be found in the brave attempt to cheer ourselves up with happy abstracts, but in paying a profound and courageous attention to the body and the breath, independent of our imprisioning thoughts and stories…We take the first steps out of despair b taking on its full weight…despair is a difficult, beautiful necessary, a binding understanding between human beings caught in a fierce and difficult world where half of our experience is mediated by loss. ~ David White

Be compassionate.

Allow yourself to exist in a cave of despair, and curl up with a comforter of compassion, and just breathe.

Is someone getting the best of you?

Be responsible for the energy you bring.

I heard this song on the radio the other day. It’s one of those that makes me stop to listen. I don’t hear it often, so when I do, I turn it up, sit back, and just listen.

 

I can remember mindlessly dancing to this song in college. I was carefree and didn’t really think about the lyrics. I loved the beat and how it pumped me up.

 

I can remember crying to this song as I had to shamefully admit that someone was getting the best of me. I was being made into a fool by someone. And shamefully, I knew it. Yet I felt so weak and trapped that I couldn’t do anything but mourn my weakened spirit.

 

And now I listen to it and say, damn straight someone is getting the best of me. I am giving my best as best as I can. And he is doing the same in return. And it’s beautiful.

 

It’s amazing how songs stay the same and yet can morph with our experiences and shifting perspectives. Songs conjure up memories, evoke emotions, and reveal some of our deepest layers.

 

 

 

When it’s time

I have been beguiled as I consider the influences of timing.

I made a decision today…seemingly impulsive, retrospectively exact.

  • I yearned for time; I found myself time.
  • I craved space to nurture an infant aspect; I created space for growth.
  • I needed to let go of what was no longer serving me; I shed something no longer serving me.

And that decision was intimidating. It has challenging repercussions. My Beloved said, “Choose from fear; or, choose from faith.”

I inhaled courage; and exhaled fear. And took a deep inhale of strength; and exhaled futile aspects. And I drank in renewal; and exhaled my intention.

I chose trust. One of my big life lessons is trusting in the universe. When I fight the waters of fate, I am only exhausting myself. The universe has endurance to outlast existence. It is the ego that resists. It is the ego that must learn.

Inspiration tickles my back encouraging a renewal in my doings. It feels fresh and new. The universe has forged the foundation upon which my dance is about to begin. Having trusted in the universe recently, my Beloved and I found our portrait being painted by Alex Grey. After a particularly circuitous conversation, Alex Grey made reference to “synchronicity fatigue.” I am applying that concept here…trusting in the universe has gotten me this far; now, it’s time for me to do the work. I can’t second guess myself. I am committing to the decision and will work hard to make it worth it. I will do. Not just think. I will apply myself to my path, seeking my dharma.

Weeping soul

Despair descends into the heart, the heaviness, the sadness. The horrors of reality. The silencing of the ego. The eradication of opinion and the sublimation from self to servant. To have no opinion. To have no voice. To enter the realm of nothingness. Tear my larynx from my throat, rip all persuasion from my soul. No identity. No self.  Descending into scullion.

Shhhh…listen…

Luke Brown Visionary Art

Yogi Bhajan said, “The greatest tool you have in your life is to listen. Why? If you listen, you will listen sensitively. And you will be shocked how fast you will become intuitive.”

 

How often do you find yourself smiling and nodding, at a loss about which the person in front of you is speaking? How often do you keep mindlessly eating without realizing you are beyond full? Have you found yourself responding to a situation out of pure habit, even though the feelings from which you are responding are long gone?

As a society immersed in constant stimulation, I have discovered that sometimes listening is a challenge. There are tons of things happening right and left and up and down and sometimes what’s present in front of me is lost. It’s sad really. It causes a disconnect not only between myself and those around me whom deserve my attention, but also between me and myself.

Luke Brown Visionary ArtOne of the things I have loved about Yoga and more recently Yoga Nidra, is that it provides the space to listen. When flowing through a vinyasa class, I am able to glide my awareness across my muscles, my skin, my joints, to discover how I physically am feeling. I can feel how deep the pain in my lower back goes, or the strength I am building in my legs. The feeling across my collarbones as I peel my shoulders back becomes a little bit sweeter, the exhale a little deeper. By listening to my body and being a sensate witness, the movements become more exhilarating and fulfilling. And when my body has been heard and I am physically feeling nurtured and satisfied, I can move into my heart space.

How do we know if we have grown, shed, or transformed if we don’t stop to listen? Taking a few moments to listen to my heart opens me up to understanding what lives within the realms of my anahata and to align my heart with my thoughts. What is it that I am truly feeling right now, in this moment? Am I displaying outdated habits and thought patterns, viz. is what I’m doing or thinking serving my current self or my past self? When I take the time to stop and listen to what’s happening within, I enter a space of clarity and understanding. I can see the matrix (my version of it, at any rate), and can systematically examine the quality of my body, heart, and thoughts, and I reveal my truest nature and the essence of Spirit from within.

Listening allows us to feel as an individual and finite existence while simultaneously it engages us in the vastness of consciousness and energy of the eternal. We become a witness and a purusha (Sanskrit: “one who dwells in the city of True Nature.”).

So take a few moments to listen to your body, heart, and mind. Check in with yourself and ask yourself how you truly are. When we find that place within, we become unwavering in our peace, and can extend the art of listening to those who surround us. And we bear witness for them, of their existence, and allow them to be heard.

Below is a meditation from Yogi Bhahan you can incorporate into your practice when you need to align your energies.

Hugs & Love,
Saxxy

 

Meditation Yogi Bhahan

Click the image for more information on this practice. _/\_

The small and large of it

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I recently spent some time in a space of frustration. All the little things were starting to piss me off and the irritation was growing. My hackles were raised and I was on the defense about many things. I remember going to teach a yoga class, playing through the situations in my head, hoping to dissolve some of the frustration so I wouldn’t take it on the mat with me and spread that energy while I taught. I was brimming with frustration, texting my beloved about the emotions that were surging through me,  when I felt a moment of compassion wash over me. And in texting with him I remembered what the bigger picture was.

And there was a shift in me. We truly do feed our emotions with our thoughts and that’s exactly what I was doing. I was focused on the smallest of details from the perspective of an individual. I was running the situations over and over in my head, making myself more upset. And, in that moment,  I saw the big picture from the perspective of the whole. I saw why I was in the situation, what I needed to do to grow, and of what I needed to let go to reach a better place.  For me, when I remembered what the intention (see also resolving your intentions) was I could see the small tasks in which I was involved leading to that intention. And I was able to shift my feelings toward the irritations from frustration to useful tool. I shifted myself, to align myself with the path that led to my ultimate goal, my intention, and in all honesty what I truly desired.

So take a few moments to shift through your irritations. Reflect on your day, week, year, life…and bring your awareness to the place of contention. Weave in and out of that space, shifting through the various emotions and thoughts surrounding that situation and find the source. What is it that is truly pissing you off. Take a few moments to exhale.

Take a few more…

 

 

And then paint a picture of a more rewarding situation. What does it look like? How does it make you feel? Think about it until the thought of it makes you smile.

 

 

What’s more important? Staying upset or  getting to a place where you can smile? What does an internal compromise look like?  What do you need to do in order to get to that space? Of what do you need to let go? Where is space for action on your part? Stop to consider the bigger picture. Align your energy with the ultimate intention, your truest desire, and take the steps to reach that place.

 

Hugs & Love,

Saxxy

Paranoid

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Mind scattering in a myriad of directions. Heart racing to a demanding beat. Confidence crumbling. Energy deteriorating. Worry and paranoia take over and you’ve suddenly puddled into a murky, slimey, pool of human consciousness. What began as a detail has escalated into a whirlwind of outrageous possibilities and you are blinded by the fear of what could go wrong.

“All day long I think of things but nothing seems to satisfy. Think I’ll lose my mind if I don’t find something to pacify.  Can you help me occupy my brain?” Ozzy/Black Sabbath

Not an invalid consideration. Life twists and twirls us at times, like a marionette across a stage, we are at times flung to the furthest reaches of what we think we can handle. When we are in the depths of such despair we brood, we become anxious, we concentrate on that which can go wrong. And then things start to go wrong and we spiral out of any comprehension of positivity and the shit hits the fan. Most of us have been here. We know of the trials and tribulations of being stuck in a pattern of demise. Some of us get stuck in our heads so deeply all we see is a convoluted mess of the future. But! Worry is wasted imagination.

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Our thoughts help create our reality. Not only in our perception of our companions on our journey and the events unveiling around us, but also in our moods and emotions that orbit our activities. Our thoughts influence our experiences.

Most of us are going to worry, and there is little we can do about completely letting go of the gnawing sense of dread. What we can do is shift worry into imagination. Shift the paranoia into something more productive. Shift it into the place of healthy intention. Create a mantra that resonates within you and fills you with calm. Color your thoughts with possible amazing outcomes, as surreal as they may seem, and excite your soul. Stop choosing to waste your precious time in that human suit by ruminating on the negative. Instead imagine your life the way you dream it to be, allow your beautiful mind to circulate around the amazing, and start living the life of your own design.

Don’t Bite

Kali, Avicularia Versicolor,  1 year and a few months old

Spiders!

That word can really give some the weebeejeebees. Such small and delicate creatures and yet they send many of us into a widespread panic. Personally, I’ve never been overly scared of them, but haven’t not been scared either. (I’ve seen Arachnophobia though and that movie freaked me out.) I mean, those bulbous, brown-near-transluscent ones are not my favorite nor are the flat, close-to-the-grown brown/black ones that scurry around, fast and unpredictable. I never really minded Daddy Longlegs for whatever reason. 🙂 I could appreciate their webs catching insects and keeping areas cleaner in that regard. But I never had an affection for those brown and black beings that frequented my environments. Only loved the Fates. In Greek mythology, the Moirai—often known in English as the Fates—were the white-robed incarnations of destiny. There were three of them: Clotho (spinner), Lachesis (allotter) and Atropos (unturnable). They controlled the metaphorical thread of life of every mortal from birth to death. I even dressed up as Clotho one year for Halloween. Metaphor and reality are two different things though.

My beloved, however, is an animal and critter lover. We went to the Butterfly Pavilion to see the scorpions, the spiders, the butterflies, the chrysalis, and Rosie the tarantula. I had some trepidation about holding her, obviously. It’s one thing to see a spider and not yelp, quite another to purposely hold one. But, he told me that they removed her fangs to make sure she can’t bite anyone, but to keep it on the DL because they didn’t like to talk about it, PITA and all. So I stepped into line to hold her…if he said I was going to be fine, then I was going to be fine. And I was! Rosie was so gentle and tickled my palm. She was very still with me and just hung out on my hand. And I had this overwhelming feeling that I was communing with nature, a side I had yet to experience and appreciate. We put so much of our own human fears onto these species, thus transporting them out of their intriguing natures and into a realm of resistance and fear. As a result, many of us are blind to the genius and ingenuity of many spiders. Did you know some make trap doors to catch their preys or tunnels to get around? Many don’t even use their webs to catch their preys, they tackle their meal! Who knew? Not me 🙂

 

Avicularia Versicolor
Avicularia Versicolor – AKA baby blue tarantula

One day as I’m sitting behind my desk at work, my beloved sent me a picture of a baby blue spider. Yep, an electric-blue, fuzzy, little, baby spider. He sent me a pic of what she would look like all grown up…emerald body with pink and purple legs. I never knew spiders could be so pretty. And before I knew it, I was holding a little Avicularia Versicolor sling in my palm.

One of the things I get asked the most is about her (no, we don’t actually know if she’s a female yet) biting me. And my answer is one that I learned at a Arachnid exhibit we saw in New York.

Spiders work hard to develop their venom and when used, they have to create more. As a result, they don’t want to bite us. The size differences alone make spiders wary of us. We are huge beings to them and they aren’t trying to get close enough to us to bite us. They most likely know that their venom can’t affect us as we are not on their meal menu. Biting us would be an effort in futility. Spiders avoid us and would rather shit and run, or use their urticating hairs, than waste their venom on us.

There has to be a metaphor in that aspect of spiders too. Maybe it’s that there are some things about us that are too precious to give away freely. Perhaps that not everyone deserves our venom. The “pick your battles” adage comes to mind as well. They all ultimately come down to, be aware of where you exert your energy and that the quid matches quo. Some events, situations, people, etc. don’t warrant our attention and may in fact, be more detrimental and draining to ourselves than beneficial. “Precious and fragile things, need special handling,” Depeche Mode.

You are an intriguing, idiosyncratic being. Thrive in your unique flavor of venom. Exert your energy in ways that allow you to flourish as your amazing self and help you along your path. Bypass the futile. You are the only one living your journey. Revel in it 🙂

Kali, Avicularia Versicolor, 1 year and a few months old, Her colors are starting to come in
Kali, Avicularia Versicolor, 1 year and a few months old